Croatia’s Food Sector Overcomes Shock of EU Membership

Total Croatia News

Major Croatian players in the agricultural sector are small compared to the European ones.

Zvjezdana Blažić, a renowned Croatian food sector expert, says that the first two years of the country’s EU membership were marked by a strong growth in imports of cheap food to Croatia, reports Lider on August 16, 2016.

“Also, we have lost some of our strongest Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) markets, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the first year of our membership, imports have increased by more than 200 million euros, while exports fell by 50 million euros. However, the trend is changing and this is largely due to the application of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, which affects or should affect the competitive production of food, together with the use of the generous support from the EU funds. The funds allocated to Croatia from the agricultural funds amount to over 700 million euros on an annual basis, and this is already changing many things on the market”, says Blažić.

She points out that large Croatian players in the agricultural sector are small compared to the European ones. “In the new programming period, CAP is aiming to equal out producers in agriculture. One of the main goals of the CAP reforms, which were adopted in 2013, is to reduce differences in the amount of support for the period from 2014 to 2020 among member states, regions and farmers. This will mean a much fairer CAP.”

Asked about perspectives of the food sector, Blažić notes that, after overcoming early troubles, including massive imports which flooded the market, exports actually started to grow and this demonstrates that Croatian food industry can grow as well.

“When I say this, I do not only mean large producers, but also medium and small ones, and this is very good. With the use of EU subsidies from EU funds, we will have successful food industry that could produce good results in the future”, she concludes.


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